A massive improvement in form by the lightly-raced filly Lonhruge was matched by an equally large improvement in the ambitions of her trainer at Sandown on Wednesday.
Lonhruge had raced only twice before stepping out in the Mitavite Handicap, finishing last at her first start and second last at her second.
But the step up in distance from 1000m to 1400m brought out the best in her and trainer Robbie Laing.
“The aim is to get her to the VRC Oaks and I reckon she’d have a chance,” Laing said.
“She’ll run the trip without any problem and she’s improving all the time.”
Lonhruge ($4.20) raced kindly behind the leaders until the 400m mark when the favourite High Aims sprinted to a three-length lead.
Jockey Ben Melham kept his cool as the gap between him and the leader grew before finally asking Lonhruge for her effort.
The filly responded gamely to reel in High Aims 50m from the line and go on to score by a length with High Aims second, clear of Hollywood Starlet in third.
Laing will be hoping Lonhruge performs better in the Oaks than his most recent runner in the fillies’ classic, Perfect Bliss who ran off the track and had to be pulled up.
“That was a disaster considering she’d won the Thousand Guineas before it and had run in the Cox Plate,” he said.
Trainer Chris Hyland celebrated his first city quinella in the Champagne Pommery Handicap (1600m) – and immediately announced that one of the horses that helped him achieve the feat was on the market.
Rock Princess ($3.30 fav) scored by 2-3/4 lengths lengths from stablemate Jetta ($8) to notch her fourth win from her past five starts.
She will be given the chance to win a fifth race for Hyland in the next few weeks while Jetta goes to the sales on Friday.
“I suppose she added something to her value today,” Hyland said.
“I’ll be sorry to see her go, but we’ve got a lot of young ones coming through so it’s time for the old girls to go off to breed.”
Article by AAP